|Publication number||US6912735 B2|
|Application number||US 10/487,079|
|Publication date||Jul 5, 2005|
|Filing date||Jun 28, 2002|
|Priority date||Jun 28, 2001|
|Also published as||CA2457701A1, CA2457701C, DE60217498D1, EP1411791A1, EP1411791B1, US20040205880, WO2003001935A1|
|Publication number||10487079, 487079, PCT/2002/3007, PCT/GB/2/003007, PCT/GB/2/03007, PCT/GB/2002/003007, PCT/GB/2002/03007, PCT/GB2/003007, PCT/GB2/03007, PCT/GB2002/003007, PCT/GB2002/03007, PCT/GB2002003007, PCT/GB200203007, PCT/GB2003007, PCT/GB203007, US 6912735 B2, US 6912735B2, US-B2-6912735, US6912735 B2, US6912735B2|
|Inventors||Jeffrey Arthur Sacree|
|Original Assignee||Geck Head Gear Limited|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (13), Classifications (8), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of International Application Number PCT/GBO2/03007, which was published in English on Jan. 9, 2003.
This invention relates to head protection apparatus, particularly but not exclusively to helmets for recreational or emergency use, such as for example marine safety helmets for use by rescue personnel, coast guards and the like.
The object of the invention is primarily to enable a safety helmet of the type described to be easily size-adjusted so that a given helmet shell can fit different sized users' heads with comfort while still providing the required positional stability on the head. However, a subsidiary object is to provide a protective head-covering for light-duty use.
In connection with the primary objective it is proposed to provide a helmet shell with an inflatable liner. Such liners are however already known in principle, for example from U.S. Pat. No. 5,175,889, which describes a safety helmet having an inflatable liner positioned between the helmet shell and an inner liner cushion and extending in use from the back of the head around each side towards the temples of the user, above the ears, an inflation port being provided at the rear part of the liner.
According to one aspect of the present invention, an inflatable head-protection member comprises first and second ear-protective elements connected together by a web element, at least one of the ear-protective elements having extending therefrom substantially orthogonally to the web element a strap element having adjustable connection means to the other ear-protective element or to a corresponding strap element extending therefrom, the elements being air-inflatable and in mutual communication and having an inflation tube for insertion in the user's mouth and an inflation/deflation control means.
By “substantially orthogonally” is meant a relative disposition of the respective elements whereby, should the web element extend in use around the occipital region, the strap element or elements would extend around the upper anterior region of the skull, the respective elements thus subtending an angle of approximately 90° at each ear-protective element. The inflation/deflation control means comprises a control valve, preferably manually operable, for example of the type including a push-button or other depressible or squeezable element operative against a resilient bias to open the valve for inflation or deflation purposes.
The invention as described may be used as such and when inflated as a light-duty protective head covering although, preferably, one or more additional finger or link elements extend from median positions along the web element and have connection means, optionally removable or adjustable, to the strap element or elements to provide further protection to the top and upper posterior regions of the skull. However, the head-protection member preferably includes means for removable attachment within the rigid shell of a safety helmet, whereby the fit of the shell can be adjusted according to the extent of inflation. The inflated elements also provide a cushioning effect against impact forces. Preferably, the elements contain a resilient or pressure-deformable material such as an open-cell or foamed plastics material, possibly loosely packed, partly to enhance the cushioning effect, partly to maintain the shape and partly to reduce the internal volume of the inflatable elements to render them easier to inflate.
The or any additional finger or link elements may be detachable from the web element but preferably are integrally formed therewith and in inflatable communication therewith.
The respective elements of the head-protection member may comprise discrete chambers or pockets containing a resilient or pressure-deformable material, thereby preventing the material (if in particulate, for example spherical, form) from becoming unevenly distributed, the separate compartments or chambers being nevertheless in mutual inflatable communication.
The ear-protective elements preferably define a centrally-disposed aperture to avoid the ears being blocked or masked to incident noise. Conveniently, grommets can be used in conjunction with such apertures and corresponding apertures formed in the shell to locate and attach the liner to the shell at the position of the ear-protective elements.
The head-protection member is preferably formed from a vinyl plastics material having a fabric covering. The adjustable connection means may comprise tabs of hook-and-loop fastener material which can be passed through ring or slot members and self-secured. The inflation tube is preferably attached to the web element in proximity to one of the ear-protective elements, in order to be conveniently disposed for insertion in the mouth.
Embodiments of the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which
Referring firstly to
Referring now to
In order to prepare the apparatus for use, the fastening materials 15 and 20 to 22 are initially engaged in their respective clasps, the fastening material providing for adjustment of size according to the size of the user's head or of the helmet shell. If the apparatus is to be fitted within a helmet shell, it may be secured therein by further strips of “Velcro” fastening material, not shown. The inflatable elements are then inflated via the inflation tube to provide a comfortable fit and, when it is desired to remove the helmet from the head, the apparatus may be deflated to allow easy removal. The apparatus provides resilient cushioning for the sides of the head around the ears, around the occipital region and around the upper anterior region of the skull and renders a one-size shell comfortable for use irrespective of the size of the user's head.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
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|US4566137 *||Jan 20, 1984||Jan 28, 1986||Gooding Elwyn R||Inflatable baffled liner for protective headgear and other protective equipment|
|US5890232 *||Nov 25, 1997||Apr 6, 1999||Park; Nam-Tae||Helmet with an air cushion buffer|
|US5913412 *||Mar 21, 1995||Jun 22, 1999||So Services Ag||Protective helmet|
|US6085357 *||Apr 9, 1998||Jul 11, 2000||Troxel Cycling & Fitness, Llc||Headgear fitting and accessory system|
|U.S. Classification||2/413, 2/DIG.3, 2/419, 2/418|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10S2/03, A42B3/122|
|Feb 18, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: GECKO HEAD GEAR LIMITED, GREAT BRITAIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SACREE, JEFFREY ARTHUR;REEL/FRAME:015445/0677
Effective date: 20040205
|Jul 2, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: GECKO HEAD GEAR LIMITED, GREAT BRITAIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SACREE, JEFFREY ARTHUR;REEL/FRAME:015526/0375
Effective date: 20040226
|Dec 6, 2005||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Jan 2, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Dec 28, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8